Functional endoscopic sinus surgery

What is a functional endoscopic sinus surgery?

Sinus surgery is usually necessary because of sinus infections such as sinusitis, which can cause a blocked nose, mucus, congestion and pressure in the nose and surrounding area. If the infection does not respond to medication, then sinus surgery may be required.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery, sometimes known as FESS, is a surgical technique which can be used for the investigation and treatment of the sinuses.

What does this involve?

The procedure may be carried out under local or general anaesthetic. An endoscope (a very thin tube, with a light and camera on the end) is inserted into the nose, allowing the surgeon to obtain a clear view of the problem. If the sinuses need to be opened up, this can be done during the surgery, and any polyps (small lumps on the inside of the nose) can be removed. The mucus drainage pathways can be enlarged if necessary.

A dressing may be placed inside your nose to prevent bleeding.

When will I recover?

Depending on the extent of surgery, you may be able to leave hospital on the day of the surgery, or you may need to have an overnight stay. You will need to rest for 2 weeks after the surgery, during which time your nose may be blocked and uncomfortable. Eventually your nose should clear and you will be able to feel the full effect of the surgery.

What risks should I know about?

There are some risks associated with functional endoscopic sinus surgery, which include spotting or bleeding from the nose, further infection, damage to the eye, damage to the eye muscles, and in exceptional cases, leakage of fluid from the brain. If you experience leakage of fluid from the brain you may need another operation to correct this.

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